Spring ISD held its fourth set of Central Office Staff Meetings for the 2022-23 school year on Wednesday at the Spring ISD Community Engagement Center. During the meetings, Superintendent Dr. Lupita Hinojosa presented employee recognition awards celebrating the accomplishments of outstanding staff members from several departments.
- Leticia Gonzalez, Innovation Department, was recognized for bringing her clear vision and valuable insight to help campus leaders make schools stronger in her work as the district’s School Improvement Coordinator. An experienced campus administrator for whom no assignment or task is too big or too tedious to tackle, Hinojosa explained that Gonzalez finds a source of motivation in her own personal North Star – “doing whatever it takes for students and inspiring others to make the impossible possible.” Gonzalez stepped in to serve as an interim administrator during several leadership transitions over the past couple of years. In each case, Hinojosa said Gonzalez built trust, saying that she had “served our children, families, and campus staff with compassion, fortitude and grace, embodying the Spring Way and our Leadership Definition.”
- Shelia Redmon-Jones, Career and Technical Education Department, received recognition for her commitment to strengthening CTE offerings and for making the real-world success of students her top priority. Redmon-Jones was praised for constantly being on the lookout for ways to improve outcomes for students and schools while helping the CTE department excel. Whether helping coordinate the district’s CTE Advisory Board, working with local business partners and postsecondary institutions, or supporting CTE pathway teachers and students, Hinojosa thanked Redmon-Jones for “ensuring that our students have the best opportunities and choices available to them.”
- Candace Carter, Human Resources, has been a Spring ISD employee for more than a decade and last year was promoted to Benefits and Leaves Coordinator. She was singled out for bringing her careful attention to detail and training in business management to the service of day-to-day district operations and “helping ensure that the district runs smoothly and takes care of its employees.” Hinojosa also thanked Carter for taking seriously the idea that “In Spring ISD, everyone is a leader,” in particular last year when Carter stepped up during the lengthy absence of a department director, embracing opportunities to learn and while helping to keep the department going strong.
- Shavon Kerr, Procurement Department, was recognized for taking ownership in her role as a records specialist and quickly embodying the Spring ISD Leadership Definition after joining Central Office last year. Whether working with teammates, campus registrars, or external customers and stakeholders, Hinojosa said that Kerr – who is also a district parent – demonstrated “a student-focused mindset and a willingness to collaborate with other departments to get results.” Kerr puts a special focus on the needs of former students requesting transcripts to further their college plans, land a dream job, or enter military service. As a parent, Kerr said she understands all too well how important such requests are, and how vital it was for the district to fulfill them promptly and accurately.
- Officer Jessyca Aseme, Spring ISD Police Department, was recognized for her commitment to safety and security and meeting the needs of every student, every day. Hinojosa explained that, following another employee’s resignation just prior to the start of the new school year, Aseme had agreed to step in and support the School for International Studies at Bammel, where she has been “selfless in her service, and has earned the respect and admiration of campus staff and students,” Hinojosa said. Over the course of the school year, Aseme has investigated dozens of incidents, supported students through personal challenges, and consistently exceeded expectations in her service to the campus and its students.
- Breana Razo, Technology Department, was thanked for her contributions as an Asset Management Technician. Not only has Razo created improved processes and systems to address the flow of materials through the district, Hinojosa explained, but she has also stepped in to help deal with large collections of out-of-date technology that had accumulated at campus sites – including one storage closet filled with more than 700 old devices – earning Razo the nickname “The Fixed Assets Queen.” “In this case, as in others,” Hinojosa said, “she recognized a need and took the necessary steps to organize and execute a plan that moved these assets off of campuses so that they could be properly disposed of.”
- Walter Matthews, Technology Department, was also highlighted for his work as an Asset Management Technician. Specifically, Matthews was recognized for combining his can-do attitude with exceptional ingenuity earlier in the school year when a peripheral hardware compatibility issue arose that threatened to affect state-mandated TELPAS testing for English learners and Emergent Bilingual students across the district. In response, Matthews developed and implemented a plan to swap out 2,880 Chromebooks at 42 schools, ensuring there was minimal to no impact to student testing. He worked with teammates to locate replacement Chromebooks, ensured new device software was up-to-spec, and “coordinated a delivery schedule that wouldn’t impact student learning,” Hinojosa said.
- Officer Jaime Saenz, Police Department, was recognized for embodying multiple facets of the Spring ISD Leadership Definition, including being Service-Oriented and Outcome-Driven on a daily basis. Officer Saenz’s current priority has been supporting his team on evening shift patrol, where Hinojosa said he had “helped locate lost students, ensured safe dismissal procedures, covered extracurricular activities, and even made home visits to address critical incidents.” In addition, the superintendent praised Officer Saenz for his thoughtful and compassionate way of working with students – taking the time to listen and learn about them and “helping them to think through their decisions and seeing how their choices affect their outcomes, both in and out of the classroom.”
Earlier in the meeting, during her general remarks, Hinojosa commented briefly on the theme of self-talk and self-image, both as it affects individuals and organizations like Spring ISD. She noted that, although self-talk can be an encouragement and a spur to positive activity, it can also be employed in negative and even unhealthy ways that are often counterproductive.
“Self-talk can be great, but it can also take you down,” Hinojosa said, to nods from attendees. “It can take you to a bottomless pit.”
She also touched on the theme of grace, and invited attendees to think about ways they could both show themselves more grace and compassion in their day-to-day lives and share that grace with those they encounter in their work throughout the district, with its more than 5,000 employees serving more than 34,000 students and their families.
“We’re huge, and we’re amazing,” Hinojosa said, “and the one common link of all of us – whether we’re in finance or CTE or operations or police or instruction – wherever we are, the one thing that unites us is we’re all Spring ISD and we’re all human.”
She encouraged staff to consider the vision they had for the district and their own contribution, and to keep pressing forward, with an openness to new ideas and opportunities together with a willingness to face mistakes square-on – making peace, making it right, and then moving on.
“So let’s give each other grace,” Hinojosa said, “as we are growing together, and as we’re making this organization better.”
During each session, district administrators also offered updates to staff related to the upcoming end of the school year, important notes about elementary boundary changes currently in the works to relieve overcrowding at select campuses, and an overview of the Spring ISD Police Department’s ongoing efforts to monitor and respond effectively to organized criminal activity in North Harris County. Central Office Staff were also enlisted for their help in developing “Sunny,” a new online customer service tool that will help answer common questions asked by parents and community members.
Employees were reminded to mark their calendars for several upcoming events, including the Spanish Spelling Bee on April 1, The Tri-Club Auction and Superintendent’s Stampede on April 15, the Future Educators Signing Day on April 20, and the Boys’ Empowerment and Leadership Summit on Saturday, April 22.